Devotionals in English

All These Thoughts

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Romans 12:2, ESV

As a human, you have over 65 000 thoughts everyday, according to a research report made in 2014. 60 000 of these thoughts are the same as the day before. Maybe not the most uplifting kind of information, right? However, that depends on what you think about. If you primarily have good thoughts about yourself, others and everything happening in your life, then it might feel good to know that it’s repetitive. However, if you have a pattern of thinking negative thoughts about yourself and other things, then this is quite bad news to receive. Research also tells us that when we think the same thought over and over again; a signal path is created in the brain which becomes stronger for every time that thought appears. The more times you think the same thought, the easier it becomes for the brain to think it again.

So, what do we go around thinking about? Work? Finances? Sex? Training? Am I good enough? How do I look in these clothes? Will I ever meet someone to share my life with?

We can, to a certain extent, control our thoughts and what we allow to take place in our minds. Do you have a recurring thought pattern you need to break? Do it! Try to actively think better thoughts about yourself and others and you will see the difference!

God gives us advice to avoid the world’s view of us and our surroundings, and instead let ourselves be transformed by His thoughts so that we can understand what is good.

But how do we do that? By listening to what God says, which is actually quite overwhelming! He tells us that we are precious, loved, chosen and important. He says that he even knows how many hair strands we have on our head. He says that he had a plan for our lives long before we were created in our mother’s womb. He tells us that we are so loved that we are worth dying for.

Maybe it is time for us to create new thought patterns and make room for all the new healthy thoughts. God can transform you and your thoughts. Are you ready for it?

Challenge
Try to break negative thought patterns and fill yourself with what God says about you and his creation.

Prayer
Thank you God for loving me. Help me to think new thoughts, to understand that you exist, that you see me and that I can come to you just as I am. Amen.

Rebecca Nordén,
Sign language interpreter, Munka Ljungby

With the Goal in Sight

"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1–2, ESV

We’re sitting in the small locker room in Sundsvall, waiting. Every second feels like an eternity. If we receive the right results from the remaining games, we will be set for Damallsvenskan (football). You could almost feel the tension in the room. But this journey started long before this moment. More particularly, one January night at a snowy football field at minus 14 degrees.There was so much snow on the field that the city chose to not shovel it away. But that did not hinder us, we had the goal in sight, we were going up!

For both players and us leaders, elite sports means that you must give up many other things. You often have to say no to hanging out with friends, no to party invitations, and no to trips with family and friends. It requires a very strong will and perseverance.

Everything was against us during the first months. We had four cruciate ligament injuries in three months, our game did not run smoothly and our home arena needed to be rebuilt, which meant that we had to switch between seven different fields in order to practice. The games were played everywhere from Malmö in the south, to Piteå up north. We traveled thousands of miles by bus. All to one day reach our goal.

We played more matches. We did 200 practices together. It was October and we were reaching the end. Everything was about to be decided in Sundsvall. There we would be able to let go of all the tension we had been carrying. All the hours we had put down could finally give us what we wanted. We did our part, and won 2–1. Now it was up to the results from the other games if we were to succeed. We followed all the other games online. Then all of the sudden, our head coach looked down at the phone and said the magical words: “That’s it!”. The room exploded. I was eagerly waiting for that wave of satisfaction, but it never came. I mostly felt empty. Was this all?

God’s word gives us perspective. Sports are amazing, but there is a greater goal, a deeper satisfaction, a greater purpose, a higher prize, someone who has offered more. Our goal and satisfaction is most deeply found in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. On our way home from the game, I asked God why I felt this way. Then it was like God was speaking directly to me, saying: “Do exactly what you’re doing, but do it together with Me. My presence will give you a joy that is complete and perfect.” In that same moment, tears were running down my cheeks, tears of gratitude, and the joy I was missing filled my soul!

Challenge
Reflect on the things you’re running after, and where you’re looking for satisfaction and purpose. What do you think will happen if your relationship with Jesus becomes your ultimate goal?

Prayer
Thank you Jesus for making me able to play, run, tackle and shoot for your glory. Help me to lead myself and others to you. Amen


Olle Härdne
teacher at the KRIK-program in Mullsjö

We’re a Team

"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
Ephesians 4:16, NIV

The worlds currently best hockey player is named Connor McDavid. He’s been the NHL top scorer in two out of the last three years. However, his team, the Edmonton Oilers, has not been close to winning the Stanley Cup. In fact, it’s not enough to be the best player in a team, you also need to have good teammates in order to succeed. Every player has unique gifts and talents that fit their specific position, and together they build a functioning team.

Paul has a similar thought when it comes to the christian community. We need each other. We are encouraged to help and support each other when things are difficult, but also to rejoice with each other when things are going well. An important part of the christian community is the church, where we can listen to God’s word, reflect, discuss, pray, and worship together with others.

The Bible describes everyone who believes in Jesus to be the body of Christ. One body, where all christians represent different parts and functions. We might see some body parts as more important, and question what we need other parts for. In the same way, we might wonder what we have to contribute with. But the truth is that every body part is needed. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes: “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable”.

We’re all different and have different assignments and qualities, but we have the same goal. Remember that you and your qualities are included in God’s plan, and you are also included in God’s team. You are a part of the body of Christ, and that is something to be proud of! You, with exactly your gifts and personality, are important. The fact that we are all different is not something negative, instead it shows God’s variation and creativity since we are all made in his image. In a christian community, we get to help each other and together pray for and forgive one another. That’s how we build up our love for God and each other, which will develop our team and make it better.

You and I are included in God’s powerful team building, and one day we will get to see our leader face to face. That is something to long for and something worth fighting for together.

Challenge
Do you lack a christian community? Give it a chance! Seek up a church and try to join it for a few Sundays. And you who already have a community, dare to invite a friend!

Prayer
Thank you God for letting me belong to your winning team. Thank you for leading me and loving me. Amen

Rickard Johnston
responsible for information at KRIK, Uppsala


God wants to. Do you?

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18, ESV

“I AM LEAVING AND I’LL NEVER COME BACK!” Perhaps you recognize these strong words from a time in your childhood when you were screaming at your parents? The words just fly out after some sort of argument or fight, and you truly feel like never returning. I have heard these words as a parent, and it always hurts a lot to receive that sort of rejection. However, the joy is just as great when the relationship is restored a little moment later.

God is our heavenly father and it hurts him every time we turn our backs on him, which we do when we sin. Just as I long for a close relationship with my children, God wants to remind us of the incredible joy he feels when we turn to him and ask for forgiveness. Feel free to read the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11–33. When the son returns to his father, the father stands with open arms; welcoming him back with a huge celebration.

We need to accept and realize that we are God’s children, and everything that means. It means that we can be angry with God and shout out our frustrations. It means that we daily turn our backs on him since we all make bad decisions and sin. But… It also means that his love for us is infinite and that he longs to be with us. He is always standing with open arms, ready to hug us and show us His enormous love. The bible verse tells us that the Lord is near to all who call on him. That is a promise God does not take back. He is always there for us when we turn to him.

Challenge
To be a child of God is big and sometimes difficult to understand. Read the parable of the prodigal son or the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7), and imagine yourself being the lost sheep or prodigal son. Think about what that means to you.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for always wanting to have a close relationship with me. No matter what my life looks like or how I feel. I pray for help to always seek you first and to understand how important my relationship with you is. Amen.

Mattias Ottestig
Secretary-General of KRIK, Uppsala

Reflect the Light

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16, ESV


Darkness is often described as the absence of light. But one single stream of light can scatter the darkness. The light lights up our surroundings so we can see. Therefore, the light plays an important part in our everyday lives. It is essential for our survival.


When God created the world, he let there be light – and there was light. Wherever you are; on the bus, with your friend or your team, God wants to shine his light through you. Jesus asks us to be a light in our everyday life, so other people can see what’s good and who’s behind that goodness.


In the Bible, Jesus tells us that he’s the light of the world, and that whoever follows him will have the light of life (John 8:12). It means that Jesus is the light that drives out the darkness of the world, and frees people from evil. It’s easy in today’s society to let things like money, status and social media control our lives, our choices and our priorities. To lie to yourself and others, and to be jealous of other people’s joy, hinders people from fully living their lives. I believe this creates a darkness which is easy to get stuck in.


Jesus gives us the double love commandment: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27). When we live a life like that, other people can see God’s goodness and give him the glory.


A reflective vest or band has the ability to reflect light. It is used to make fellow drivers observant. It is important to remember that a reflective item does not shine on itself, but reflects the light from a source. For us christians, God is our source. He is the light of the world. Being a christian is to be a reflection of a life that makes your friends, colleagues and teammates aware of God.


Challenge

Dare to act in ways where you can show your love for God and those around you.


Prayer

Thank you God for being the light of life. Help me to live in a way that reflects your life and your goodness to those around me. Amen.


Julia Henriksson
student, Borås